Copyright 2014 The Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino has added his name to the massive lawsuit over concussion-related brain injuries, becoming one of the highest-profile former players fighting the NFL.
Marino and 14 other lesser-known players added their names to the lawsuit in federal court last week in Philadelphia. The suit already has more than 4,500 players, including Super Bowl champion quarterback Jim McMahon, Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett, former Dolphins running back Mercury Morris and the family of ex-Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012.
Last August, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement. But a federal judge threw it out in January, saying that it wasn't enough money to cover all the injured players.
Marino, who was unavailable for comment, does not have a publicly documented history of concussions.
The lawsuit does not specify specifics injuries to Marino, but like the other players, says he suffered "sustained repetitive, traumatic sub-concussive and/or concussive head impacts during NFL games and/or practices."
The suit says Marino suffered injury and economic loss. He is seeking financial damages and medical monitoring.
Former Dolphins guard Keith Sims, who already was part of the suit and played with Marino for most of the 1990s, said most head injuries weren't diagnosed or disclosed when they played.
"I'm sure we all had many concussions," Sims said Monday. "It wasn't diagnosed back then -- you'd get some smelling salts and go back in the game.
"We all were affected. If he feels like he wants to be a part of it, I applaud him."
Receiver Mark Duper, who starred alongside Marino in the 1980s, said earlier this year that he has CTE, a degenerative brain disease caused by head trauma.
Marino, 52, could become the new face of the lawsuit but Sims said neither he nor Marino are doing it for the money.
"I'm not in it to try to get millions of dollars from the NFL," Sims said.
"I want the medical coverage and I want to help the less fortunate players that are really struggling. I'm sure it's the same kind of thing with Dan."
But Sims acknowledged that Marino's name could help the lawsuit.
"Obviously, his name is out there more than anybody else's right now," Sims said.
The lawsuit accuses the NFL of "carelessness, negligence (and) intentional misconduct" involving concussions.
Anita Brody, the federal judge who rejected the settlement in January, said there wasn't enough proof that there'd be enough money to cover the injuries.
The settlement was supposed to be able to award former NFL players, including those who aren't part of the lawsuit, for brain injuries suffered on the field.
The payouts would be based on severity. Up to $3.5 million could be awarded for a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease or up to $5 million for an ALS diagnosis.
Brody said that even if just 10 percent of retired players qualified for a payout, the settlement number was likely too small.
Marino retired after the 1999 season, holding numerous NFL records including career yards and touchdowns. Most of his records have since been broken.
He spent the past 11 years as an analyst on "The NFL Today" on CBS, but the network replaced him in February. He has said in recent months that he's interested in a job in the Dolphins' front office.
In 2003, he was briefly named a top executive in the organization, but resigned several weeks later.
The Dolphins declined comment Monday and Marino's attorney and personal assistant did not return calls.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @abramsonpbp